Oct. 26 (UPI) -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is traveling to Israel on Thursday in a weeklong anti-terrorism tour of the Middle East.
Mnuchin hopes to reduce the financing of terrorist activities in the region. On Wednesday he helped open the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The project, which the United States and Arab nations in the Persian Gulf bankroll, will work to stop funding that goes to regional terrorist networks. The bloc announced Wednesday that its first target is eight leaders and financiers of Islamic State and al-Qaida operations in Yemen.
"It is critical that we come together to combat" terror threats to all nations, Mnuchin said at opening ceremonies. "The [project] will be a catalyst for additional multilateral actions against terrorist financiers, and a place where member countries come together to fight against these common threats."
Mnuchin will visit Israel, Dubai and the United Arab Emirates.
In Israel, Mnuchin is expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon. It is his first visit to Israel since taking office in President Donald Trump's administration and Mnuchin, who grew up in a Jewish household, will visit the Israeli Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem.
Through the visits with Middle Eastern leaders, Mnuchin is trying to reinforce a U.S. plan, announced earlier this month, in which sponsors of terrorist organizations are confronted more forcefully.